Multi-agency cooperation in combating terrorism in the aviation industry in Kenya
Edna, Nyatichi Omweno
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Terrorists’ acts against the civil aviation industry have remained sustained over a period of time. The devastating effects of a successful attack transcend the jurisdictions of many states, threatening their national and human security. The transnational nature of these attacks has led to states cooperating under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to come up with standard measures to address the same. The devastating effects of the 9/11 attacks led to a review of the existing legal and regulatory responses which were found to be largely reactional and ineffective. A new thinking was introduced which embraced responses that were proactive in nature and that encouraged a multi-layered security structure. Being a signatory to ICAO, Kenya has not only domesticated the new thinking but also operationalized it by establishing the Border Coordination and Operations Control Committee (BCOCC) - a multi agency working framework. This study sought to empirically examine Multi-Agency Cooperation (MAC) and its implications on aviation security in Kenya. It attempted to answer the question whether the adoption of multi-agency cooperation as an approach to security in Kenya’s aviation industry had enhanced aviation security in light of terrorist threats. The specific objectives were; to examine the evolution of the aviation industry and the terror threat within it; to analyze the evolution of the responses adopted to combat terrorism in the industry and to examine how the multi-agency cooperation strategy is functioning to enhance and facilitate effective counter terrorism strategies in Kenya’s aviation industry. Similarly, the study sought to establish the relationship between international aviation security law and domestic aviation security. It employed a descriptive case study methodology and largely used qualitative data supplemented by quantitative data collected from multiple sources namely; questionnaires, interviews, document reviews and observation methods. The study established that the improvement of the international civil aviation security program has consequently led to the improvement of Kenya’s aviation security system in combating terrorism. However, whereas the multi-agency adopted from the international system by the aviation security has played a significant role in enhancing and facilitating counterterrorism strategies; it faces legal and structural challenges that need to be addressed in order to strengthen it further.